/ September 18, 2019
Dire famine. Devastating acid rain. “Great peril” from a depleted ozone layer. An ice-free Arctic by 2013. A new ice age.
Environmental doomsday predictions as a result of climate change have been trotted out since the 1960s and continue to this day.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute in a Sept. 18 report chronicled 52 years of “failed eco-pocalyptic predictions.”
The report comes ahead of what environmental activists say is a planned global climate strike set to begin on Sept. 20 and last for a week. According to the organizers, “Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s report showed “that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.”
Among the failed predictions:
1967: ‘Dire famine by 1975’
A Los Angeles Times report quoted Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich saying the “time of famines” is upon us and would be at its worst and most disastrous by 1975. Ehrlich suggested putting sterilizing agents into staple foods and drinking water as a means of population control.
1969: ‘Everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam by 1989’
A New York Times report quoted Ehrlich as saying that “the trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you’re dead.”
Ehrlich added: “We must realize that unless we are extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years.”
1970: Ice age by 2000
A Boston Globe report titled “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century” states that “air pollution may obliterate the sun and cause a new ice age in the first third of the next century.”
The report added: “The demands for cooling water will boil dry the entire flow of the rivers and streams of continental United States.”
1970: Water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980 in U.S.
A report in the Redlands (California) Daily Facts cited Ehrlich, saying “the oceans will be as dead as Lake Erie in less than a decade. America will be subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980.”
1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘great peril to life’
A UPI report cites professor T.M. Donahue of the University of Michigan as telling Congress that the Earth appears to be “on the verge of a period of great peril to life” due to threats to the ozone layer from modern technology.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute noted that “no such ‘great peril to life’ has been observed as the so-called ‘ozone hole’ remains.”
1980: ‘Acid rain kills life in lakes’
A UPI report, citing Canadian and U.S. environmental agencies, said that acid raid was wiping out life in lakes in Canada and the U.S.
But, 10 years later, The Associated Press, citing a U.S. government program, reported, “Acid rain no environmental crisis, study concludes”.
1978: ‘No end in sight’ to 30-year cooling trend
The New York Times reported that an international team of specialists had found there was “no end in sight to 30-year cooling trend in Northern Hemisphere”.
According to NASA satellite data, there is a slight warming trend since 1979.
1988: Washington, D.C. days over 90 degrees from 35 to 85
A Gannett News Service report cited NASA scientist James Hansen as saying greenhouse gas warming would lead to routine record high temperatures in the nation’s capital in the 1990s.
RealClimateScience.com notes that the number of hot days in the D.C. area peaked in 1911 and have been declining ever since.
1989: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019
An October 2001 Salon article on the greenhouse effect recalls a conversation the writer had with Hansen in 1989. Asked in 1989 to look out on Broadway in New York City and see if there was anything that would look different in 20 years, Hansen replied: “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water.”
There are still more than 3 months left in 2019, but the West Side Highway is not under water.
2000: ‘Children won’t know what snow is’
In a report on global warming, The Independent cited Dr. David Viner, a climate researcher at the University of East Anglia, as saying, within a few years, winter snowfall would become a “rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”
2008: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013
Former Vice President Al Gore said at the COP15 Climate Conference that the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free by 2013. “The entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years,” Gore warned the audience.
The North Polar Ice Cap is still there.
2013: Only 500 days before ‘climate chaos’
The Washington Examiner reported that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, had warned that the Earth had just 500 days to avoid “climate chaos.”
In a report 500 days after the French minister’s warning, the Examiner reported that the planet was “still standing.”
View the institute’s full report here
Free Press International